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Report: Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Blackpool 1

Seasiders Exit Emirates FA Cup

23 January 2021

Blackpool’s Emirates FA Cup journey came to an end at the fourth-round stage, as Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion edged out the Seasiders 2-1 at the Amex.

A deflected strike from Alexis Mac Allister proved the eventual difference, despite Gary Madine previously finishing off a beautifully crafted goal to cancel out a 30-yard wonder strike from Yves Bissouma.

It was a cruel blow for Blackpool, who went into the game without several first-team players due to injury and coronavirus, resulting in six changes from the league outing at Hull.   

Brighton captain Lewis Dunk had the first real opportunity of the tie, heading over from a corner inside the opening three minutes. Adam Webster then had a similar chance, again from a set-play, moments later, only to nod well wide.

A free-kick at the other end, from Luke Garbutt, looked to find the net for the Seasiders, however Christian Walton got across goal well to parry his effort away.

Blackpool continued to contain their Premier League hosts throughout the first 25 minutes, yet the breakthrough came for the Seagulls in stunning fashion, when Yves Bissouma found the top corner from 30-yards out.

Retaining possession, Brighton tried to carve out another opportunity when Andi Zeqiri made a burst towards the box, though his strike was off target, despite Chris Maxwell making a lunge towards his near post.  

Plugging away as the interval approached, the Seasiders brought themselves back level, courtesy of Gary Madine. The striker made a run across the box and latched on to a great delivery from Luke Garbutt to equalise.

Half-Time: Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Blackpool 1

The Garbutt-Madine connection almost worked out again after the restart, only for the latter to just miss out on connecting with another fantastic ball into the six-yard area.

Brighton’s Alexis Mac Allister drew a fine save out of Chris Maxwell down the other end of the pitch, forcing him to scramble across goal to keep out a shot from 20-yards-out.

A huge stroke of luck then saw Mac Allister find the net via a wicked deflection off team-mate Andi Zeqiri, restoring the Seagulls’ lead in fortunate circumstances.

Just after the hour mark and on the back of that goal, the hosts made a triple substitution, introducing Solly March, Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay.

Pool responded by handing a debut off the bench to Ellis Simms, with the Everton loanee replacing Jerry Yates in attack.    

Despite the changes for both sides, chances were proving few and far between, and that led to Blackpool making three further substitutions, with Sullay Kaikai, Bez Lubala and Oli Sarkic given the opportunity to come on and make a difference. Jordan Thorniley, Matty Virtue and Gary Madine were the players to go off.

It was one of the Brighton introductions who had an opportunity to wrap the game up with eight minutes of the match remaining, yet Chris Maxwell stayed upright to prevent Neal Maupey from finding the net.

With Pool pushing forward and leaving space, the home team tried to wrap the tie up on the counter-attack, yet they continued to be thwarted.

Four minutes of added time then came and went, with the Seasiders unable to carve out a clear opportunity to prevent a cup exit at the Amex.

Full-Time: Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Blackpool 1

Team: Maxwell, Gabriel, Thorniley (Kaikai 76), Ekpiteta, Husband, Garbutt, Virtue (Lubala 76) Williams, Robson, Yates (Simms 66), Madine (Sarkic 76)

Subs: Fojticek, Howe, Mariette, Apter, Holmes

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